Three AMD 990FX-Based Motherboards For Enthusiasts

990FX Extreme9 Firmware

A simple menu structure allows experienced users to custom tune their 990FX Extreme9 without jumping through unnecessary steps. As always, inexperienced users are free to seek overclocking advice within our forums.

Shown at DDR3-2424, the 990FX Extreme9 only gets our DDR3-2666 memory to 2,411 MT/s before occasional errors begin to occur. This outcome, which we'd otherwise consider mediocre, is somewhat acceptable only because the CPU’s built-in memory controller doesn’t support higher ratios. The board’s 1.635 V setting approximates our desired 1.65 volts.

The 990FX Extreme9 also pushes this AMD FX-8350 sample to 4.44 GHz at a modest 1.40 V, though with even more anomalies in the process. For example, “Load-Line Calibration” is backwards, with 100% corresponding to full droop and the minimum setting providing maximum voltage increase. Full-load core voltage fluctuated between 1.39 and 1.49 V by default, and decreasing the CPU’s maximum voltage to the desired 1.40 V was accomplished by increasing load-line compensation to 75%!

The 990FX Extreme9 supports Intel's XMP technology and retains previous latency settings when switching from automatic to manual modes. This memory, for example, has tighter SPD timings for its slower DDR3-1600 default. So, disabling the XMP profile from the main page before picking manual timing controls would have caused those tighter defaults to be reflected in the firmware’s manual configuration boxes.

Anyone who doesn’t want to limit CPU voltage themselves is welcome to try ASRock’s automatic overclocking profiles. These are designed around manipulation of the reference clock, rather than the FX processor's adjustable multiplier, so that they can also support multiplier-locked CPUs.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
87 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • Glad to see AMD getting some love.
    29
  • "if we diminished most of those power differences by not installing Asus' power management software at default settings, the company would have likely matched the performance of Gigabyte and ASRock."


    Don't speculate! Do the tests and add it to the article so we can see what the software packages are actually accomplishing! That's why I read your site, yeah? For hard info that I can't get myself.
    26
  • falchardAren't the 990FX chipsets kind old?
    990FX is AMD's current "high-end" chipset for enthusiast-level desktops. AMD occasionally releases new chips (look last fall) and motherboard companies keep updating their selection of products.

    Old chipset, recent boards, any questions?
    13
  • Other Comments
  • Glad to see AMD getting some love.
    29
  • "if we diminished most of those power differences by not installing Asus' power management software at default settings, the company would have likely matched the performance of Gigabyte and ASRock."


    Don't speculate! Do the tests and add it to the article so we can see what the software packages are actually accomplishing! That's why I read your site, yeah? For hard info that I can't get myself.
    26
  • designasaurus"if we diminished most of those power differences by not installing Asus' power management software at default settings, the company would have likely matched the performance of Gigabyte and ASRock."Don't speculate! Do the tests and add it to the article so we can see what the software packages are actually accomplishing! That's why I read your site, yeah? For hard info that I can't get myself.

    I totally agree with this statement. The test should have been done and added into the article because this would of been a good representative of the value of the software. I would like to know for a fact if the software was a hindrance to the electrical efficiency of the Asus and Gigabye boards.
    9
  • bgunnerI totally agree with this statement. The test should have been done and added into the article because this would of been a good representative of the value of the software. I would like to know for a fact if the software was a hindrance to the electrical efficiency of the Asus and Gigabye boards.
    At least the power was measured and mentioned, even if it didn't get into the chart.
    1
  • AMD's 890FX was an excellent low-cost server platform, in its day. Great I/O, tons of PCIe lanes, 6-channel SATA3, and ECC support. All with boards and CPUs in the desktop price range that were close to being performance competitive with Intel (when they were introduced, at least).

    Now, AMD is just slipping too far behind. Not just on the CPU front, but like how about some PCIe 3?

    I'm waiting for 64-bit ARMs to hit the desktop. That's probably the next truly interesting thing on the horizon.
    -9
  • Aren't the 990FX chipsets kind old?
    -5
  • 137621 said:
    Aren't the 990FX chipsets kind old?


    Yes, but not a lot of new things need to be offered anyways. PCIe 3.0 is just a gimmick and doesn't really give much more performance over PCIe2
    6
  • falchardAren't the 990FX chipsets kind old?
    990FX is AMD's current "high-end" chipset for enthusiast-level desktops. AMD occasionally releases new chips (look last fall) and motherboard companies keep updating their selection of products.

    Old chipset, recent boards, any questions?
    13
  • "Three AMD 990FX-Based Motherboards For Enthusiasts"
    I don't think enthusiasts would want to buy a slow CPU from AMD.
    -18
  • What did I miss? The ASRock has better features, including 3-way SLI, more USB3.0, an abundance of accessories, uses less power (the only positive efficiency), has higher performance, lower VRM temps; but BOTH of the other two got awards? I noted the comment about fluctuating prices, but on features alone ASRock looks like the winner. Surely it wasn't the slightly lower OC...
    4
  • darkchazz"Three AMD 990FX-Based Motherboards For Enthusiasts"I don't think enthusiasts would want to buy a slow CPU from AMD.

    I think of enthusiasts as people interested in getting the maximum performance from their hardware; regardless of its base level, getting the most out of it. Boards like these which can be tweaked every which way are precisely the kinds of products enthusiasts enjoy.
    7
  • Saddest part about the platform is that it feels old and out of date. So little integration... This design is now years old and its their top of the lane. I see nothing new since 890.
    -8
  • darkchazz"Three AMD 990FX-Based Motherboards For Enthusiasts"I don't think enthusiasts would want to buy a slow CPU from AMD.


    Really? Wow...
    0
  • boulboxYes, but not a lot of new things need to be offered anyways. PCIe 3.0 is just a gimmick and doesn't really give much more performance over PCIe2


    I disagree, the whole platform smells of too much power consumption. AMD needs to INNOVATE, not just add more features and drive up power.
    0
  • NovuakeI disagree, the whole platform smells of too much power consumption. AMD needs to INNOVATE, not just add more features and drive up power.


    I disagree again. Sure the HT is old, but except for a few details, this boards, being updated regularly with their firmwares or even the pcb revisions, are quite good. The power modulation works fine for this quite cheap boards, I mean, check out those overclocks, and they are very conservative. The amount of sata3 ports is excellent, PCI lanes are ok just what you need nothing more nothing less. RAM management seems a bit old, you are correct, but only professionals get value of it, professionals that should be buying extreme Intel setups. For the average Joe editing and rendering, their memory solution is just 1 minute slower, who cares.

    I think AMD doesn't need to innovate, which is quite a prostituted word. They need to improve their technologies further, as they've been doing for the last years, just at a faster pace, without falling into self indulgence, in that i agree with you.
    7
  • It is nice to see my GA-990FXA-UD3 win a Tom's award (even if it is an older rev).

    My only complaint about the board is that the NB or SB, I don't exactly remember which, would cause a thermal shutdown while running Folding@Home 24/7 last summer. It didn't help that a GTX 560 Ti at 100% load was dumping waste heat right on top of it.

    Re-configuring the cooling in my cheap case and down-clocking the GPU got me back up and running.
    5
  • Quote:
    folks who put in the effort to configure Asus' power management software to their perfect preferences


    I love Asus's power management options, power savings or performance when needed. Although I wish the balanced setting didn't cause problems with OCing and would pile on the juice when needed.
    2
  • lilcinw, my friend had a similar problem. 2 ways to solve it:

    1. move the GPU down to the second slot, which should drop NB temps by about 5-7 degrees C.

    2. Replace the northbridge cooling solution with an active fan (10-15 degree drop). VRMs also get super-hot, 75C is not uncommon under load. Quite frankly, the NB/VRM colling solution on this board is terrible, and I cannot fathom how it got a recommendation at all given these grievances.
    1
  • I have that same Gigabyte board but an older version of it without the UEFI - it still holds up very well even after a CPU upgrade.
    1
  • OnusWhat did I miss? The ASRock has better features, including 3-way SLI, more USB3.0, an abundance of accessories, uses less power (the only positive efficiency), has higher performance, lower VRM temps; but BOTH of the other two got awards? I noted the comment about fluctuating prices, but on features alone ASRock looks like the winner. Surely it wasn't the slightly lower OC...


    I was left wondering the same thing.
    1